Monday, September 9, 2013


Novalis (1772—1801) whose real name is Frederich Leopold Freiherr, Baron von Hardenberg (or Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg) is a German poet, writer and philosopher. He was raised within a pietist Lutheran family. In March 1797 his fiancee Sophie, who was only fifteen, died. This significant event sent him into a period of mourning which led to the writing of his Hymns to the Night (1800).

In his 1799 essay "Christendom or Europe", he called for a universal Christian church to restore the medieval cultural, intellectual and social unity of Europe, which existed prior to the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

George MacDonald translated Novalis's Spiritual Songs, in 1851, and gave copies to friends at Christmas. Eventually he also translated Hymns to the Night. The following exerpt is from the George MacDonald translation.

from Hymns to the Night #5

Uplifted is the stone
And all mankind arisen!
We are thy very own,
We are no more in prison!
What bitterest grief can stay
Beside thy golden cup,
When earth and life give way
And with our Lord we sup!

Lost, lost are all our losses!
Love is for ever free!
The full life heaves and tosses
Like an unbounded sea!
One live, eternal story!
One poem high and broad!
And sun of all our glory
The countenance of God!

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: